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Sep 03, 2012

Michael Phelps needs a Poker Rakeback Deal

By RTR Dennis

To the general public, Michael Phelps is perhaps the greatest Olympian ever since the swimmer has won 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall – both all-time records. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he capped off his illustrious career by winning four gold medal and two silvers. Seeing as how his grand Olympic career overshadows everything else, few outside the poker community realize what an avid online poker player Phelps has become.

This love of the game initially came to light following the 2008 Summer Olympics when it was reported that he played lots of online poker in his downtime. Soon Phelps was hanging out in Las Vegas with poker legends like Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth – the latter of which actually watched him swim in London.

Of course, Phelps wasn’t only hanging out with poker pros since he also competed in some live tournaments during this stretch too. His live poker foray led to a 9th place finish in a 2008 Caesars Palace Classic event and $5,213. Sure the $5k is peanuts to a man who routinely collects millions of dollars in sponsorship deals every year, but he still has a nice poker cash on his resume. Considering how Phelps has a strong relationship with poker, is it possible that he could find a new career in the game?

Star Athletes – The Wave of the Future
Many online poker rooms these days are targeting star athletes to promote their brand and drive more recreational players to their sites. For evidence of this, just look at how PokerStars signed tennis star Rafael Nadal and 888poker inked a major deal with MMA champion Georges St-Pierre.

Considering this interesting trend, it’s not inconceivable to think that Phelps could find himself representing a poker room in the near future. And unlike Nadal or St-Pierre – who had little prior poker experience before signing deals – Phelps has actually enjoyed the game long before any potential signing that may come about.

What Phelps needs to do Immediately
Moving past all of the hypothetical talk about the champion swimmer eventually signing an online poker deal, one thing is definitely clear: Michael Phelps needs to get himself a rakeback deal! Now we’re not entirely sure how many hours a day he spends grinding on the cyber tables, but he does play a significant amount of online poker. That said, Phelps would greatly benefit from making sure that he has rakeback, which drastically cuts down on the cost of paying cash game/tournament rake fees.